Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Oh the stress of the molt

With the loss of daylight, it's time for the chickens to molt. They need to loose those summer feathers and bring in those cold weather feathers and reserve some nutrients to grow new feathers in. They slow down on egg production which is not good for this farmer and her customers.  As they loose their feathers they begin to look very sad like this girl above! 
This poor girl only has this last spike of a tail feather left.
This poor girl! I'm ready to knit her a sweater! She almost looks naked! Her neck is half bald, but she is already showing some regrowth.
The good thing about this time of year is the beautiful feathers you will find. This was a wing feather but the unique thing about it is it has a double shaft and two feathers coming out. Contact us if you're looking for feathers, we have plenty!

 Looking at this girl, it's like she's channeling her inner Turkey Vulture! AS she was standing there, she was literally plucking her feathers off of her body.
So to our egg customers, this is the real reason why our supply of eggs is low right now! It should get better in the next couple of weeks!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Welcome Mr. Copper

Welcome Mr. Copper! He is a Black Copper Maran rooster that we have added to our flock. Sadly the one we raised from a chick met an accidental death. I was on the look out for another one and happened on one that was literally a mile away! When we added him to our flock, within a few minutes he challenged old Henry and learned very fast that was a big mistake. He has realized the pecking order, settled in well and is a very sweet boy.
He has been with us now a couple of weeks and has integrated into the flock quite well. Next Spring I hope to hatch some chicks with the 3 hens we raised this year. The exciting thing about this breed is the amazing color of their eggs, a deep red/brown egg. I'm thinking this may be my new favorite breed of chicken!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Well here we go...

Well here we go, after the initial shock that the New England Fiber Festival has been cancelled, it's time to dust ourselves off and reinvent the wheel. The farm can't run itself so I decided we need to re-open the Etsy shop and list all the work I have done preparing for the big show. We have lots of yarns that I have begun listing. I will begin to list each day as I go here.
This is such a hard time for everyone, so hang in there, this too shall pass!

The link to our Etsy shop is:

You can also click the link on the side bar that will take you to our shop!

Friday, September 4, 2020

Welcome Another Generation

 We welcomed 7 new English Angora bunnies on September 1st! Our CoCo and Frankie are the parents to this beautiful bundle. They are jumping and popping out of the nest already. I usually don"t post new babies so early but these guys are so strong and mom is doing an amazing job! Visit our Coon Hollow Farm Facebook page to see a video of them! (I can't figure out how to get it on here!)

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Sad but moving on!

After careful consideration, we regretfully announce The Fiber Festival of New England has been cancelled for 2020. Current COVID-19 restrictions do not allow for an event of the size, scope and passion that our Fiber Festival brings to the Mallary Complex every year."

 This was the message we got yesterday, completely devastating an already hard year for us as well as a lot of other small farms and businesses that depend on this Festival. From here we are moving on and are looking at other ways to sell our products. Please bear with us as we may participate in a virtual version which the Fiber Festival may offer as well as doing some on line here. We have worked hard all year getting our products ready and have a lot of handspun yarns in stock. All I keep saying to myself is this too shall pass. Stay strong everyone and stay tuned!

Friday, August 21, 2020

The End of the Dearth

 The dearth can be very hard on bees and other pollinators. It is a space in time in the summer when some plants are done blooming but the others have not started yet which can make food very hard to find.
The best part is the queen is unaffected by the dearth and is evident that she is still producing eggs so the brood can continue to grow. In this picture the brown covered cells are developing brood (baby bees).
 In this frame you can see the white developing larvae! So on we go, out of the dearth! We have fed the bees through this time, heling them to overcome the dearth.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

The bees and the mites

One thing a beekeeper faces in this day and age is the relentless killer, the Varroe Mite. This mite was first discovered in 1987, was brought here from Europe and has reeked havoc on our honeybee population ever since. Setting up a treatment protocol is a beekeepers best defense against this deadly killer of our honeybee populations. Treatments are improving all the time but while doing my research it seems that a staggered approach as well as using a variety of methods is best not to allow the mites to build up resistance to one treatment type.

The formic acid treatment is our first treatment followed by two others staggered over time.

Our approah to this is so we can see frames like this one, a healthy queen and her healthy brood! 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

A triple win of Fiber!

On a previous post I featured some blending I was trying with three fibers. I blended an Icelandic, black angora rabbit and white alpaca in this fine batt. It was a whole fleece of the Icelandic fleece with a whole angora rabbit fleece and a bunch of alpaca blended as it went on the drum carder.

If you look really close, you can see the guard hairs that are casting off the spun yarn. These are the guard hairs of the Icelandic fleece that were on the top of the fleece. This fleece had black guard hairs as well as a gray under coat which although somewhat on the coarse side, gave it a soft texture too.

I did not weigh the fleece prior to spinning but it did fill (after picture was taken) a whole Ashford Country Spinner spool! The weight of the yarns equaled 35.1 ounces, so in reality 3 pounds, 3 ounces! It was spun in bulky weight so it netted 428 yards of handspun yarn! The small white spool is to show a size comparison to the size of the big spool and yarn. 

Sadly once again, the picture just doesn't do it justice! This yarn along with the many others will be available so far at the only show that has not been cancelled, the New England Fiber Festival in Massachusetts in November. Covid19 has done a number on many Fiber Artist as well as other businesses. My hope is to see a back to normal one day. We may reopen our Etsy shop, but time will tell.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Who's the Boss of the Barnyard you ask?

I'm often asked who is the boss out of all the animals we have. I usually chuckle because of course it's me, but Pru runs a fast second. She commands control of the feed trough and has no problem with telling the alpacas that under no circumstances will she put up with their nonsense. She has no problem butting them and if need be using her horns to get her point across.

Of course Maddie, who is on the left here has no problem being assertive as well. So the answer to the question would be the two old lady Angora goats, they are the boss of the barnyard!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Only Teddy...

Every morning without fail, I open the feed bin, turn for the bucket, turn back and I will find Teddy head first in the grain. I usually take the scoop and fill the feed bucket working around old Teddy.

I just don't have the heart to close the gate on him. It's as if the grain in the bin taste so much better than the hay in the feed dishes. 

I fill the buckets for the others and he's still going at it! I save some for him and put his portion in the trough. Once that's done he takes his focus and locks it right onto the new grain that has been poured, as if that's even better  He is so predictable this guy.

I got this shot of Teddy and it just sums him up...munching away with not a care in the world. Only Teddy, you gotta love him!

Monday, June 29, 2020

What do you do?

What do you do when your one year old Lavender Orphington rooster decides he's going to start being a jerk and make a run for you say? You pick him up, carry him around and give him kisses! This can usually break them of that male driven protectiveness. You have to change their mind into self protection, not protecting the girls. If they associate you with contact they don't want, this can usually change the way they see you.
One thing that saddens me is when I see people who don't understand this behavior or how to break it and the young rooster will be destined for the soup pot or rehomed. This can take a one time solution or a few but eventually he will get it!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Trouble in the Barnyard

Look at this face, warm, sweet, beautiful...nope he's a trouble maker! Lately the once sweet Norman has taken to being quite the leader of trouble in the barnyard! He is currently 10 years old and we are quite baffled at what is prompting it. Has he realized that being a nice guy gets him no where? Has he decided that he is getting older and needs to start sowing some wild oats? Is he going through a mid age crisis? Is he bored with the way of life around here? Who knows? But it better stop! 

Lately he picks someone to pick on and it's on, but he has decided to form a gang! Cyrus on the left, with Norman center and Awan on the right! Yeah this isn't happening guys! No violence on the farm! 

So, currently Winchester (left) and Teddy (right) are separated from the marauding gang of 2 and their leader! These 2 are the most gentle souls we have here. Garth who is not pictured has decided to stay away from it all and I find him on the hill holding sentry duty as he should, not getting involved. If this continues we may need to get the Vet out here to take away one trouble makers trouble making things that may or may not be causing this!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Blending fibery goodness~!

In the time I have had while out of work, I've been putting this time in to get through my fiber stash. I had a beautiful black Icelandic fleece that I picked up last November at the New England Fiber Festival. It was soft but a bit coarse all at the same time. So it needed a blend that would keep the beautiful colors in but compliment it all at the same time. I chose a black angora rabbit fleece and combined it with some white alpaca to give it a nice soft texture and add some color differences. It has true black, grays of different shades and white.

These two photos don't really give the Icelandic fleece justice in it's beauty!

After the blend! It is so beautiful! This was pulling the first blend off of the drum carder, it beat my expectations!

I wish pictures gave a see and touch mode, it is so soft and so pretty! 

Trying to get it in the light, honestly I am so pleased!

So now to decide what to do with it, spin it up or bag it for sale as a spinning fleece or make punis out of it, hmmmm decisions, decisions! One thing I do know, as of right now the New England Fiber Festival is planning to go on as scheduled in November (see our schedule on the sidebar), it will be there for purchase, possibly in many forms!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Twisted together...

My favorite boy "Teddy" and...
the always mighty "Awan"...
and their amazing fiber...

each twisted into it's own yarn...

have come together to make one of my favorite yarns!

Plyed onto a spool...

to make this incredibly soft and natural colored yarn. 
Sadly the camera does not do the colors justice here. During this down time I have been spinning between all the other Spring tasks while still working from home. We are still holding out hope that the New England Fiber Festival in Massachusetts will still go on as schedule. Yesterday the NY Sheep and Wool Festival announced they are cancelling their October show, fingers crossed for the November show to go on as scheduled. We have taken a huge hit with Covid19 as many other farms have.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Working for the farm today

There was suspicion in the barn yard this morning, they knew something was up and sent Awan out to check it out. It was shearing day and they quickly figured it out. It's old hat for them as we figured out that this is our 12th year of shearing!

Our shearers, Jeremiah (left) and Rick (right) arrived promptly at 8:00 am and went right to work. The usual screaming, spitting, kicking went on while some just took their shearing with grace like Pru and Maddie.

They have their summer do's, paid the shearers and went right to work...

on this! While they took all our fleeces for this year and last for processing, they brought the past two years of Teddy! I got right to work!
I made kits and got some of the fiber right on the spinning wheel to be plyed with a darker alpaca. Stay tuned for some new wool and 
fiber blending combinations for some new yarns!